According to Employers, Gen Z Are Toxic for the Workplace

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Apr 24, 2024

A new study has revealed that many employers feel that their Gen Z employees are toxic for the workplace. As more of Gen Z join the workforce, employers are learning more about how this generation is different from their elders.

According to many of these bosses, Gen Z aren’t just different from Millennials and Boomers — they’re much worse.

Gen Z Are Toxic Employees

A new Freedom Economy Index report, completed by PublicSquare and RedBalloon, has taken a closer look at Gen Z in the workforce.

A younger man and woman sitting down outside and working on laptops together.

Source: Eliott Reyna/Unsplash

This report asked employers many questions about their Gen Z employees. What the study found may be quite surprising — especially for those who are considered a part of this generation.


Gen Z Aren’t Reliable

According to this report, many employers across the board consider Gen Z to be toxic employees. That’s not all. Many small business employers specifically pointed the finger at Gen Z workers when asked about unreliability.

A group of Gen Z ladies all on their phones and taking selfies.

Source: Nben54/Wikimedia Commons

About 68% of these small business owners claimed that Gen Z were their “least reliable” employees.

Mental Health

This study also took the time to look at mental health in the workplace, and how this may affect Gen Z workers.

A man working at a desk with the sun shining in through windows.

Source: Bethany Legg/Unsplash

Those who took part in the survey were asked about Gen Z, mental health, and stresses that occur in the workplace. About 71% of respondents said that Gen Z has more mental health issues at work than other generations.

Creating Division

Even more harmful to Gen Z as a whole, survey members were then asked how this generation contributes to the workplace as a whole.

Two young women working on a laptop together.

Source: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

Respondents claimed that Gen Z is toxic for their workplace. About 62% stated that this generation creates division at work.

Employers Against Gen Z

Some respondents were then asked their opinion about working with Gen Z employees. Some employers were downright honest about what they felt.

A man working on a laptop while wearing headphones.

Source: Wes Hicks/Unsplash

One particular person criticized the generation as a whole, saying that Gen Z’s “absolute delusion, complete lack of common sense and zero critical reasoning or basic analytical skills” didn’t fare well in the workplace.


Gen Z and Entitlement

Gen Z has increasingly been criticized in recent years, especially now that more of this generation is entering the workforce.

Women sitting at a desk together and working on their laptops

Source: CoWomen/Unsplash

Often, this entire generation is considered entitled by elder generations, especially Boomers. Boomers have claimed that Gen Z thinks they deserve more money or promotions simply by showing up to work, rather than working for it.


Gen Z and Laziness

Another frequent criticism against Gen Z has to do with laziness. According to detractors and some employers, Gen Z as a whole is lazy when at work.

Office workers working together on their computers.

Source: Arlington Research/Unsplash

Instead of having a go-get-em attitude, these workers instead only do the bare minimum. Many employers look at this as being lazy in the workplace.


What Gen Z Says

Gen Z, of course, disagrees with these employers and critics. While some may see their attitudes as lazy, entitled, or toxic, this generation states that they are simply trying to better find a work-life balance.

Many office workers at a meeting together.

Source: Redd F/Unsplash

They’ve seen Millennials and elder generations spend their lives at work — only to not receive anything in return. Gen Z isn’t going to do that.


Putting Themselves First

In this way, this generation is not putting their boss or their job first. They’re putting themselves first. So, if they need to better their mental health, they will — even if it means leaving their job.

A young man walking down a sidewalk outside smiling.

Source: Yingchou Han/Unsplash

They’re not going to go above and beyond for a boss they know won’t ever give them a raise or promote them. To Boomers, this seems lazy. To Gen Z, this is necessary to live a healthy life.


The Study Could Be Slightly Off

Some analysts have already come out and stated that this recent study could be a bit off when it comes to analyzing Gen Z as a whole. After all, these respondents are simply voicing their own opinion.

Two workers in an office working on computers.

Source: Tim van der Kuip/Unsplash

Some of these small business owners may have some prejudices against the generation. This prejudice could interfere with honest criticism of the generation. Overgeneralizations of any generation aren’t accurate across the board, as well.


Small Business Owners vs Gen Z

Other analysts — such as Dan Space, a human resources consultant who runs — have also claimed that small business owners and Gen Z don’t have the best working relationships, for a variety of reasons.

Office workers working at computers in an open office.

Source: Israel Andrade/Unsplash

Space explained, “Since the study reflects the feelings of small business owners, it could be skewed. These types of businesses often do not pay well or offer a high-quality company culture and Gen Z tends to look for those in any type of role or career they take on.”